Robbie Power: My Horses To Watch This Season
I was sad to miss the Galway Festival but there are thorough checks before you can return to action after an injury and it’s in our own best interests to be 100% right.
I underwent a rigorous concussion test and failed it the first time, but after Galway I passed it and I’m back to normal now and looking forward to an exciting season. Here’s the horses to watch out for!
What he did last year was an unbelievable achievement and…
I don’t think the horse got the credit he deserved after tucking three Gold Cups away over the season.
He’s still only a seven year-old so if last season’s efforts didn’t take too much out of him hopefully we have plenty to look forward to this season as well.
There’s a £1m bonus up for grabs for winning the big chase at Haydock as well as the King George and the Cheltenham Gold Cup and I’m sure Mr Potts will have his eye on that, so that’s looks like the route he’s going to take. The Haydock race is not until the middle of November so he’s got plenty of time to get in shape.
He put in a very impressive performance in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National but he has to step up now from that. It’s a massive step up in class this season and he has to prove himself, a bit like a minor footballer going into the senior team.
He’ll most likely start in Down Royal this season as there’s a couple of races that suit. I rode him yesterday morning and he looks fantastic.
I was very impressed when I rode Fox Norton at Aintree and of course he went on to beat Un de Sceaux in the BoyleSports Champion Chase at Punchestown.
I think you’ll see the best of him over distances of 2½ miles and up. If he got good ground and Sizing John wasn’t there he could even step into something like the King George. As it stands I’d say the long term plan would be the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
You need to have great form over two miles to figure and Sizing John had it behind Douvan for example. Fox Norton is another having ran behind Altior and I’d be fairly confident he’ll stay even further than he has already proved.
I haven’t spoken to Colin Tizzard or the owners about definite plans for Finian’s Oscar this season but I’d imagine the plan is to go novice chasing with him.
He’s a very exciting horse who won two Grade Ones last year at Sandown and Aintree. He probably should’ve won at Punchestown too in what maybe wasn’t my finest hour in a great Spring. He won his point-to-point and should still be unbeaten so hopefully jumping fences won’t be a problem for him.
He’s a good sized horse by Oscar and he jumped his hurdles like they were a fence so you’d be hoping that when he sees a fence he could be better again.
He ran well at Punchestown for Davy Russell in a Grade One after winning a novice hurdle. He’s a horse that has plenty of pace and it’s up in the air whether he’ll stay hurdling and go down the Champion Hurdle route or go novice chasing and head for the Arkle.
Had a fantastic Spring winning at Aintree and Punchestown and he’s gone up a lot in the handicap now.
He might have a crack at the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury but I could see him being a Grand National horse too.
He’s at a mark now where he either has to step into graded company or else carry a decent weight in a handicap. If he was going to be a Grade One horse he should be able to win a Hennessy off 160 so we’ll see how he did over the summer and hopefully that could be a plan for him.
I was excited about riding him at Galway before my injury and he ended up riding a cracker.
You won’t see much of him during the Winter as he likes good ground and there’s a possibility he’ll go to the Kerry National. I definitely think he’s a horse that would be better going left-handed and he’s a fantastic jumper so he’d be a strong candidate for an English Grand National if he got good ground next April; that could be a long term plan for him.
He has all the right attributes.
Others To watch
There’s a nice 4 year-old in Jessica Harrington’s yard called Madison To Monroe who I’m looking forward to this season.
He was bought at the Aintree sales and I got a chance to sit on him this morning, and although he’s only at a slow canter he gives you a good feel. He won a 4 year-old maiden point-to-point first time out very impressively and he’s a horse to look out for.
Woodland Opera should have another big day in him and he’s in a lucky situation in that he’s still a novice until the end of November and he can run in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse. After that he’ll have to step up into the big boys’ division but hopefully there’s a few big pots up for grabs before then.
There’s a horse called Someday that may also be worth watching. He won his bumper well in Leopardstown then was disappointing in the Champion Bumper at Punchestown. In May when I was injured he ran in a maiden hurdle and was an ordinary 3rd and just lost his form towards the end of the season.
However, he has a very good engine and he could be a very exciting horse in middle distance novice hurdling this year. Up until the end of last season he’d been going very well and had been showing us all the right signs at home so he could be one that may slip in under the radar.